December 15, 2021

Sen Raphael Warnock made a passionate plea in the Senate yesterday for a filibuster exception to pass the voting rights bill.

Rachel Maddow said it seems that "Washington discourse appears stuck on the idea that it can't be used for something substantive, for something important, for something, as you put it today, foundational like voting rights. I imagine your aim today was to try to puncture that Washington discourse and turn it around. Am I right in seeing it that way?"

He said history will judge them for this moment.

"But even as we push forward infrastructure, we've got to deal with the infrastructure of our democracy. And that's the question confronting us right now. And the issue for Democrats is, what are you going to do? Sadly, our Republican counterparts have already made their decision. I'm not about to let them off the hook. If they are the party of Lincoln, they ought to stand up for liberty. and I'll continue to make that case.

"But we just can't afford to wait, given all that's going on. Voter suppression bills introduced in some 49 states. Dozens of provisions to subvert the will of the people. Our democracy is in a 911 state of emergency. We must put the fire out. That means we've got to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and we must build a fire station to handle future fighters -- future fires. We have to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. That's the most important work we can do this Congress."

Maddow asked if there was any movement in the Democratic caucus on the issue.

"We've been having some encouraging conversations. I've been talking to many of my colleagues including Senator Manchin, and I've been talking to Leader Schumer, others throughout the weekend. And I'm going to continue to make the case because again, I think this is the most important thing we can do this Congress. We make a terrible error of judgment if we became as if these are ordinary times. These are no ordinary times.

"And if we don't do something to protect our democracy, here's my fear, Rachel. I fear that we may well have crossed a Rubicon that will make it difficult for us to get become what we imagine -- what we take for granted as a democracy. Democracies don't die all at once. It's a little bit at a time. And anybody who's paying attention right now ought to be concerned. The good news is we have the power to act. We can do something about it. We proved it last week because why? If we didn't act, the economy would be in crisis. And I thought seriously about voting against raising the debt ceiling but I was thinking about the people back home. I was especially thinking about the most vulnerable members of our community who are not resilient, who would suffer loss that perhaps is unimaginable if we didn't do the responsible thing," he said.

"I shudder to think what would happen to our democracy if we don't defend it. We changed the rule last week. We ought to do the same, live up to our duty. You know politicians make a lot of promises when they're running for office. But the one thing that I swore to do when I put one hand in the air and the other one on the Bible, I swore to defend the Constitution. And I'm determined to do that."

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